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The drinks are not registered in Costa Rica, so they do not have legal permission to be marketed in the country.
 - Ministry of Health photo -




Published Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Alert on smuggling alcoholic drinks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Health alerts the population about the sale of the alcoholic drink KRAKEN brand that is advertised on social media.

The drinks are not registered in Costa Rica, so they do not have legal permission to be marketed in the country. There is no record of the composition and conditions under which the product is being produced. "People who drink this product can put their health at risk," the Ministry said in its statement.

Individuals or companies that are marketing counterfeiting products may get criminal charges, the ministry said.

The alcoholic drinks were being sold online on the Kraken brand Instagram page, which was closed on Monday.

Specialists make the following recommendations:

- Do not drink or buy KRAKEN until the alert is lifted.

- The sale of these products are forbidden until the alert is lifted.

- If any person detects the sale of this product in any store, report it to the local police.

Complaints should be made by email to or by calling the line for the ministry at 2223-0333.

This is the second alert for the sale of counterfeit or illegal alcoholic beverages this month.

On Monday, the ministry reported that five people were hospitalized due to intoxication with liquor contaminated with methanol.

According to the ministry, these people were treated at the San Juan de Dios hospital in San José Province, for having ingested the alleged tainted liquor.

Due to these cases, the authorities carried out operations to confiscate liquor that may have been contaminated in the cantons of Alajuelita, Aserrí in San José Province and La Unión in Cartago Province.

The intoxications allegedly occurred in these places, so the investigation will establish whether alcoholic beverages contaminated with methanol are being marketed in these places, the ministry said.

Seizing around 20 samples of different products, the ministry said the items were sent to the laboratory for their respective analysis.

A health alert issued for the sale of products tainted with methanol has been out since July 2019 for bottles labeled: Guaro Chonete, Guaro Cuerazo, Guaro Sacheto, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Red Star, Guaro Montano, Barón Rojo Aguardiente, Timbuka Aguardiente and Molotov Aguardiente.

Since then, the sale of the products is forbidden. Also, ministry officials continue with operations to analyze liquors sold in stores to identify the sale of contaminated products.

According to the ministry, in 2019, 76 people were treated for suspected poisoning by drinking liquor with methanol. Of these, 29 people died, of those 22 were men and seven were women. There were 23 Costa Ricans, 4 Nicaraguan, and two-people whose nationalities were not disclosed because they were homeless, according to the ministry.

So far, there have been no reports of foreign tourists being affected by the wave of deaths and illnesses.

The ministry reported the closure of 33 stores due to the sale of liquors banned for possible contamination with methanol. There were nine stores in Cartago, 14 in Limón, five in San José, and five in Alajuela.

More than 65,000 bottles of possibly tainted alcohol have been seized with the support of the Fiscal Control Police, Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, originally was produced chiefly by the distillation of wood, hence the name wood alcohol.

Sometimes methanol is created accidentally by bootleggers who are trying to produce ethanol, the type of alcohol usually found in beer, wine, and liquor. Sometimes methanol is added to ethanol to boost its effect.

Methanol is toxic in two ways. First, methanol can be fatal due to effects on the central nervous system, acting as a depressant in the same manner as ethanol poisoning. Second, it metabolizes to form an acid that can cause blindness in those who drink it, as well as frequent deaths.

Because of its toxic properties, methanol was frequently used as a denaturant additive for ethanol manufactured for industrial uses to prevent the liquid from being used for drinking.

Symptoms can develop almost immediately after having imbibed the liquor. Symptoms are rapid drunkenness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, severe headache, and lack of coordination.

A.M. Costa Rica urges readers to share this alert with their contacts.

Have you seen these brands of liquor being sold in your community? 
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